Shelter from the elements is a top priority in any survival situation, no matter the time of year. In the summer, staying in the shade helps avoid heat exhaustion and sunburn; in the winter, insulated walls protect you from wind chill, sleet, and snow. You can always improvise a shelter in a pinch, but it's ideal to have a shelter that has been prepared ahead of time. This structure doesn't need to be elaborate, but it does need to be affordable, durable, and spacious enough for your family and all your essential gear.

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Marcin Padlewski and Anissa Szeto, of Ontario, Canada, have designed a structure that they claim meets all of these needs. It's based on the yurt, a traditional circular Mongolian tent that has been used for centuries. Marcin and Anissa's company, Yurta, has been building these pre-made yurt kits in Canada since 2004.

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Each Yurta shelter consists of a natural hardwood frame, a wool felt insulation layer, and a water-resistant yet breathable canvas outer shell. These materials can be packed down into a long pickup truck bed or 4'x8′ trailer for easy transport.

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Once you choose a suitable location, company says its yurts can be deployed in 2 to 3 hours without turning a screw or hammering a nail. Deck foundation kits are available, or you can build your own insulated floor platform from included plans. If all else fails or you need to set up in a hurry, you can still stake the structure directly to the ground.

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Yurta is available in two sizes: 13-foot diameter and 17-foot diameter. The company also offers connectors for multiple units, so you can set up an entire compound with multiple joined rooms. With the addition of a wood-burning stove, the company says these structures can remain comfortably warm even if it's -25°C (-13°F) outside.

Pricing for the larger 17-foot Yurta is $9,000 to $9,500, depending on wall height option. This includes the framework, roof, walls, solid cedar door, window inserts, storm flaps, awnings, floor building plans, and other components. Wool insulation for colder months is sold separately, and ranges from $2,400 to $3,400. A pre-built stained and insulated floor kit is $2,800. This may seem like it adds up fast, but considering the potential year-round use capabilities of these structures, a Yurta may be an effective option for a long-term bug-out shelter.

For more info on these modern yurts, check out

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